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Monday, May 9, 2011

Likelihood For Special Election Strong

George Wenschhof

The arrival of 2.864 signatures on petitions calling for a special election for members of the Frederick County, Maryland charter writing board came on the last day allowed by law.

Two-thousand of the signatures need to be verified by the Frederick County board of elections for the special election, estimated to cost $250,000 to take place. If a special election is held, it must be held no sooner than thirty days and no later than ninety days.

Board of county Commissioners president Blaine Young (R) continues to push back against the special election, citing the cost and saying the selection process was open, fair and balanced.

Those who favor the special election point out the heavy development community representation, the apparent desire to have a strong county executive and the increased exposure to voters on issues surrounding charter government which would likely be a result.

Stuart Harvey, elections director, informed me the verification process is closed to the public as it is considered an administrative procedure and therefore not subject to Open Meetings law. Mr. Harvey expected the review process to be complete within one week. Harvey added the petitions may be reviewed after they have finished the verification process.

If a special election is held, the nine members appointed by the board of commissioners along with the eight petition challengers would appear on the ballot in alphabetical order, with voters selecting up to nine.

The likelihood of a special election is strong with total signatures submitted on petitions exceeding the needed 2,000 by 43%.

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